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Dear St. Mark’s,

This is how it goes. Lent has begun. We’ve started this season on a good foot. We may have attended the Ash Wednesday service, received ashes on our foreheads, and made a commitment to some discipline throughout the next 40 days. And then what happens next? You guessed it. We immediately start to receive tests in the form of temptations to compromise our Lenten commitments. This doesn’t just happen during the season of Lent. These tests, which come in the form of temptations, always come to us whenever we make a new commitment to better ourselves in some way.

Instead of being discouraged though, I want to invite us to see those tests differently. They are evidence that we are truly wanting to grow and they are there to see how committed we are to our growth.

We see these kinds of tests all throughout the Bible and especially in the gospel passage for this Sunday, the classic passage where Satan tempts Jesus while he fasts in the wilderness for 40 days. Jesus is human through and through so he does indeed get weak and longs for that food and power Satan dangles in front of him. But Jesus commits to his growth and emerges from the wilderness and begins his public ministry with more power than ever.

Let us gather together this very first Sunday in Lent and reflect on the tests we have already started receiving and gain the strength to keep saying, “no,” so that we can keep saying, “yes” to our spiritual growth.

In this together,
Rev. Lydia